Thursday, August 31, 2006

Suppose to pull not push

I am overwhelmed with this dissertation at the moment. My shoulders incredibly achy and my eyes are tired and I get a headache every night… Yes, I am complaining, I want it to be over already!
Practice is good at least. So, yesterday with the backdrop, C had to push me because still I am my scared self and I was just hanging there bend backwards, in the air. She end up giving me a little push, so I would actually drop back and then when I got up she said in a amused way “I am suppose to pull not push people from backdrops” Yes, things tend to work other way around with me. And today it was even funnier. With the first one, which usually tends to be more difficult than following ones, she was pushing I was fighting back to come up! I don’t know how I am doing it, I guess it means soon I will achieve to come up as well. So then she gave me a harder push and I landed on my forehead, but not so hard, my hands were there as well. But the last one was my own, no holding or pushing. Well, my legs were shaking at the end of all this. I am scared and I am also scared that I will not be able to pass beyond this fear. I guess it is also about letting go. At the end of that last bit I cannot let go, I am so close, all I have to do is let go and I will be on my hands…
Anyways, I kind of promised myself to do more work on dissertation (at this point it feels like I am talking about a creature…) Even though my eyes are already itching, for the sake of keeping my promise…

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

With the first day of 29 comes my first back drop!

Yes, so I turn 29 on the 29th! This is my last year in 20s zone… I don’t mind 29 but now I feel like I should be more grown up when I turn 30. I come on, I will enter a new decade! Am I prepared for it? I am not old enough for 30s zone yet, am I going to be able to catch up within a year??? Uhh, well I will just go with the flow, who knows, maybe I will catch up…
So, this morning I kept dreaming that I was finishing my dissertation and also I was doing back drops, yes two priorities in my life! Then, I woke up before 5 am, half an hour after my solar return… And then went to Yoga Place , began my practice quite early… So, at the end, began back bends and then got up, did my little going back and coming forth and then C came to help me, so after 2 drop backs she asked me if I want to try by myself. I guess I looked all worried, she said you can say “No” but I said I really want to… and then I go and did it! Then only thing is C was in front of me and head two fingers touching my waist, yes just the feeling of her fingers, not holding but that gives so much confidence! Still, my legs were shaking when I came up! C said, one more time, and I go but came back before dropping and she said “I am here, common”, and I did it again. It is just letting myself drop after a point, but that is the scary part, right? Well, I did give myself a nice present! The trick is to continue doing them until I am confident to do them without C standing in front of me. Yes, C was saying the other week, one time before I go , only one time. And, yes, it was also one of the thing I really wanted to do before she left… Finally I am there I guess.
So, first back drop on my 29th birthday! Does this mean it will be a heart opening year for me?! I expect some kind of transformation this year, well I guess I do because it has already began.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Does this make me a junkie?

I broke my French press minutes ago and I wasn’t even having coffee! Today was my cleanse day so no coffee which is unbearable by itself and then breaking my French-press! It was next to the sink and I was trying to grab a bowl above the sink. I drop the bowl while trying to catch it, I heard something drop and break. When I looked down it was my French press. I cannot imagine how I looked, but as soon as I realized I broke my French-press, I was on the floor with agony staring at my beloved, now in pieces, French press! Well, I think all this happened because of my envy of Beth’s new stovetop espresso maker! Yes, they broke their French-press as well and got this new stop-top espresso maker. Beth says this device makes the best coffee ever and I heard this fact before as well, so I believe her. So, since she had been talking about the best coffee ever, I have been envious but then I thought I will move soon so I should not collect more stuff… But now what to do? Is this a good excuse to buy one of those babies? No, it is not meant for me to quit coffee! Yes, it shall be time for the stovetop espresso!
Well, this is my only addiction… hope it does not make me less of an ashtangi…

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Thanks for my life

I feel like I am writing my blog more than I am writing my dissertation. Okay, not quite, I already hit 9 thousand words (suppose to be no more than 10 thousand) in my dissertation but what if it is all crap and then, I am much more eager to write my blog… Now I am in the stage of processing all I have written… like making connections between bits that seems awkward when combined in a chapter. Still, I feel like so much more I need to put in, but where? I only have 1000 more words to left, if I exceed, they panalize… then all this seems so irrelevant. Today I spent the whole morning searching for one sentences that got stuck into my mind in all these books and articles I have read… I only began concentrating after 2:30 pm. Then I had to peek at one of the Turkish newspapers on line and it had very sad, disturbing story about a young woman. I got so sad about it. Her employer tortured her for a month because she was dating guys and going out too much. It is horrible what he had done to her and also her family apparently helped him in this process! After reading about it I began questioning what is the point of this life; she is suffering there and my concern is to write this dissertation which is just fake given that it is anthropology, and it is suppose to be based on your fieldwork but we are writing it based on library material and then my other concern is practicing ashtanga and to make sure I can practice ashtanga forever… All these seemed so self-indulgent suddenly… really how is this world constructed? Who decides who will get what? I guess this all relates to Tiff’s recent posts…
Okay, I should at least end this blog in a positive tone. My teacher asked me to help her with adjustments twice a week this month, so one more day, which makes sense if I will learn how to adjust. So, twice a week, I go to studio before anyone else, before 6 in the morning, to finish my practice by 7:30 and then I help with adjustment for an hour… Yes I enjoy it very much. And one more time I am reminded to appreciate all I have instead of worrying over stupid things!
I thank for my life, not quite sure to whom but I do...

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Sunday practice

I went to Hamish’s for the first time today. I thought instead of doing my Sunday practice at home (which is usually sluggish) if I give myself such a present, it might motivate me to do some work on my dissertation on Sunday as well… uhh I just desperately want to finish writing… I know I should enjoy it, I should be excited about it. Yes, yes, yes I am trying to be all that.
Anyways… what did I think about Hamish’s? Well, he was not teaching today… so cannot comment on him. But the studio was much smaller, well maybe not smaller but the way space is like practicing in someone’s living room, it is not open space like we have at Yoga Place , but it was okey, and still better than practicing in my own living room which is full of things distracting me. Also, I was afraid that I would be intimidated with all the advanced practitioners but I guess there weren’t many of them and also I realize that I don’t look at other people much when I am practicing. So, I am usually not aware of what is going on around me, unless I have to stop and wait for help with my backdrops… Yes it was a nice Sunday practice. On the other hand, one thing I realized is how much having C as my teacher matters. It makes such a big difference, so motivating and touching me within in a positive way. Of course this is the first time I have done self-practice elsewhere and as they get to know you, it might become more welcoming and warm. But then, I also realized that it is time for me to be able to focus on my practice on my own, no matter who is teaching… Especially since C will leave in few weeks and then I will leave afterwards. I am concerned about how it will be after I leave, but I realize that I have to keep my motivation going and also have to be prepared for many self practices in my sister’s or parent’s living room. And hopefully after a short while I will get to Mysore (universe, please help with that)!
Okey, now I have to go back to writing my dissertation since I have gotten my motivational present.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Dreams and subconscious

Saw Bob Dylan in my dream, so splurged on some Bob Dylan music immediately since I am suppose to pay attention to my dreams. Anyways, it is always a treat to have more of his music and guess what, his next new album, Modern Times , comes out on my birthday! So I pre-ordered that as well, thanks Dylan for the birthday gift!
On the other hand, subconscious coming to surface. My left thigh pinches, hurts, not getting better, makes me wanna cry… I feel more sensitive than usual (as if I weren’t enough) and easily irritated. All the planets are cramped in the twelfth house of my chart, that might be the reason as Penny says.
Then I am caught writing blogs... A friend from yoga found out that I am writing.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Do I need to justify my practice?

Why do I care so much… but then I guess it is even more difficult to let go when your sister talks about how other people bad mouth ashtanga. I feel like she does not trust me and constantly have to tell me what this and that yoga teacher in Istanbul thinks about ashtanga… Today she wrote an email telling me that she told this one teacher that I used to know about my plans to go to Mysore to practice with Guruji. So, this teacher tells my sister that it is very crowded there in the shala (yes we all know that!) and that they don’t teach you much… so there is this other teacher called Ve…( I cannot remember) and he is very good and I should consider maybe? And plus this teacher my sister talked to hates ashtanga because she injured herself so much while practicing it… and my dear sister warns me to not hurt myself…
Well, we know it is crowded in Mysore but isn’t that one of the enhancing factors about it; the energy should be multiplying. Also, yes, I am aware that with the crowd and everything, less help each students gets, but I am fine with that since some of the days I only get one or two adjustments here as well, and help with backdrops and also it is practice, practice, practice... I was telling my sister afterwards on the phone that there is also the spiritual side not just pushing yourself through asanas and injuring yourself and her response was that probably people find ashtanga less spiritual since it is so difficult and fast… Well, for me going to Mysore will be like pilgrimage as Medic says, and paying my respect to Guruji. I also believe that practicing there will make a difference, I don’t know maybe because of practicing with all these people from all over the world, or maybe because I will have more inner strength or because I will be only focusing on my practice… I just wish that I will make it there and I also wish to practice as long as my body allows…

Friday, August 11, 2006

Stage fright or what???

So, yesterday my backdrops were almost there. C did not hold me much, I am thinking intentionally since Tuesday she said “you are just this much (I cannot make the hand gesture) away from it” And yes I drop a bit faster on my hands by myself but less faster than previous let goes she did… so almost there but I am not sure if I can say the same thing about coming up, feels like that will take longer. Still not sure which part of the body needs to be stronger, legs or the back, to come up. I guess both.
Then this morning we had the usual talk through. I have been doing my headstands free floating for sometime but not during the Friday’s led classes since I did not want to disturb people with my occasional falling and rolling. But this week I have been doing much better, did not fall much, and stayed up much longer. So, I decided that I should avoid the wall now on, but then I stayed up much less this morning than I have been during self-practices (eventhough still everyone is there during self practice, I guess everyone doing their own thing feels more casual)... Now I am wandering is it stage fright or too much of self-consciousness… well, they are kind of the same thing, right? But then as if anyone is watching me! no, people don’t watch each other during practice. Well… yes, since whenever someone achieves to do a backdrop or some sort of other difficult asana, people usually say good job after the practice… but still, no, we are not watching each other. Okey, I think the real reason is the way I classify asanas in my mind, there are kind of asanas that without even trying them I can tell it will be no problem to do, the ones that require flexibility of arms, shoulders and then there are ones that are scary or requires much more strength then I have at the moment. The scary asanas are ones like head or handstands where I would see the world upside down and would not really be able to tell what my body is like, too much to the front or too much to do back, am I falling???? Well, I guess I am starting have a sense of what my body is doing during headstands, at least I can tell my body is crocked to the left, but could not manage to straighten that crookedness yet. And then the backdrops, they were scary the first time and still scary to do by myself. I was bending backwards the other day while waiting for Cary to come and help me. When she came, she asked “did you realize it is just because you are scared that you cannot do them yourself?” but I said I did not think that I was scared but thought that I seem to loose my balance with those long arms hanging backwards…
Anyways, I am doing another cleanse this weekend. I seem to lost taste in food. I don’t enjoy much, or when I eat, I feel so full! What is my problem? Well maybe my stomach is a bit more sensitive than usual. Maybe it is because I am unconsciously stressed form this dissertation writing process. But it is coming along fine; at least that is what I think.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Does yoga make you a super human being???

We had our second picnic last night… It seemed like a failure in the beginning but then it got better with more people showing up. This time there were some disappointing comments from few about yoga and I could not stop thinking about these. I also had a conversation with one of my yogi fellows who kind of questioned my devotion to yoga and asked me whether I was overemphasizing the change yoga brought into my life. Also, he could not understand how I perceived yoga as not only physical but also spiritual development… Well, to begin with my one to one conversation with my friend, I think I have valid reasons to believe that yoga helped me in my life. I just remembered this morning how skeptical, even to the point “ohh yeah right, good catch”, when during ashtanga workshop for beginners, my first Mysore style teacher, Tony, told us that more you practice yoga, more clarity you will have and that it will become easier to make decisions about things which can be troubling… Then, I just started coming to practice with the only desire of moving and stretching, but at some point I began talking about life in terms of yoga and that is when I realized yoga was becoming more than my daily exercise regimen. It just helped me to be not so disappointed with life’s set backs because they are all transitory just as a sluggish practice I might have one morning or one week and there are deteriorations sometimes just to have a break through afterwards to move forward… Also, as someone with previous body image issues, I just started appreciating the fact these legs and arms of mine could do all these asanas rather than focusing on how big my ties are or how much cellulite I got on them and how horrible that was (yes that vain) and I realized this before the many positive changes which were about to happen in my body and which I did not know about. This is some of what I feel and think about my practice and also I respect everyone’s own special reason for coming to yoga and do not imagine questioning it. However, there were some people last night who suddenly began making fun of taking practice seriously, and comments such as “ Yoga does not make you super human!” began going around. I just could not understand why was this sudden implicit attack on some of us who were obviously taking it a bit more as a life style than them. Yes, we (those of us who take it “too seriously”) sat quietly with signs of little discomfort on our faces and hellooo, we know that yoga will not transforms us into super humans!!! Those ones who were mocking us were the ones with half of the discipline we had and who regarded the practice tortures some of the times. However, I do not question how they perceive practice or their lack of discipline because I really don’t give a damn about it much! For me, as long as you do some yoga, it is great because you do a favor to your body in terms of health at least, if it does not mean much more… And this is my personal practice, and even though I believe that benefits of my practice extend to the people around me in my personal life, it is not someone else’s concern to criticize. Ashtanga works for me, whether I believe it works or it really works does not matter. I don’t think I am doing yoga for the wrong reasons.
Uhh, this week was suppose to be about tuning into signs around instead of reflecting on them in my Wish process but I had to reflect when I have to validate my perspective… I don’t know if I am taking all this too seriously…

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The best gift :)

Today practice was fine. I seem to be getting more fluid when doing the vinyasas after each asana; I guess I am getting stronger… But my left thigh is not so happy this week. I thought it was opening up last week, which is in a way… I can bind it much more easily now. However, I think I did something on Monday and I only realized it when I was practicing on Tuesday… and it hurts the most when I am doing the usual suspect, baddha konasana ; a muscle somewhere in my thigh is pinching, hurting… Well I just said my teacher when she came to adjust during baddha konasana , that my left thigh hurts and maybe it is for the better if we let it be since left side is a wild child, does not like to be pushed and if it is pushed, then goes back four steps back in terms of flexibility… but I am hoping some time soon, something will pop up there and my left side will be as open as my right side…
Okey the best gift came after my practice. I went into the changing area and the girls who come to practice regularly, thanked for adjusting them yesterday and they also told me that I should not worry about hurting them and then one of them said “I felt warm inside when you adjusted, we all did! it is very nice, thank you”, she even thanked for Deb who did not come this morning. As I wrote yesterday, I felt the people, who knew me, were very receptive contrary to my prior fears; however, I was not expecting such a support. It is the best gift that anyone could give me at the moment other than the opportunity to let me learn adjustments (thanks C ☺ !)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Ahu adjusting!

Today was the big day! I did my first adjustments. So, I went to class just before 6:30am. Entered the room while my teacher was helping someone. Then she came over and told me that I can begin adjusting people with downward dog, prasarita-padottanasana , paschimottanasana and triang-muka-eka-pada-paschimottansan, and even maybe with utthita-hasta-padangusthasana. First I stand there like a tree, terrified, then I told myself “move for gods sake, common, you will be helping with something you love to do, this is the chance to be doing something which might fit your nature the best”. So I began with adjusting downward dogs. Then prasarita-padottanasana, well with that I made Corrie roll… Okey it was funny not horrifying, she lost her balance and gently rolled. My teacher came and told me that I am suppose to have my leg in front of their leg in case they loose balance as just happened. Then, I did other adjustments as people moved to asanas on the mat. I was really scared with what people’s reactions might have been, like “what the hell she is doing” kind of… especially people whom I usually talk to, the regulars. However, surprisingly, they were especially very receptive, even thanking me… But it is really difficult to tell how much pressure I am applying and how much to apply. I don’t want to hurt people but then if I am doing it too lightly, there is not much point to it… Also, how different each person’s body, some are very flexible, some is so stiff-as if my adjustment has no impact, and some is resistant… Well, it was also tiring, more than I would imagine. First of all, have to breath with people I am adjusting so I can get the duration correctly, then there are so many energies floating around and you sense it all when going from one person to another. Though at the time I began my own practice, I was already warmed up, very much open, not like how I am usually when I am on my mat right off the bed.
After I finished my practice, which was also the end of class, and took a shower, we talked with my teacher about what I think. She told me that it is better to do it too gently than to over do it with which I totally agree… Then, with two other friends from class, we went to Gallery cafĂ© to have coffee. My teacher also had our picture taken with her camera, and said lets take a picture of the day of Ahu doing adjustments for the first time. So, it is even documented, well not while adjusting of course.
Next adjustment day will be next Tuesday since Wednesday is a full moon. Until then, practice, practice, practice...